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Nord Med. 1991;106(8-9):232-6.

[The prestige of illnesses and medical specialties].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Senter for helseadministrasjon, Universitetet i Oslo, Rikshospitalet.


Diseases and medical specialties differ as regards social prestige. Samples of experienced physicians, medical students at two different levels, and other health professions were asked to rate 38 diseases and 22 medical specialties and subspecialties by prestige. The measured differences in prestige were substantial. Among the diseases, myocardial infarction, leukemia and brain tumour were ranked highest, whereas fibrositis, liver cirrhosis and depressive neurosis came lowest. Among the specialties, neurosurgery, cardiology and thorax surgery were top ranked, while geriatrics, dermatology and psychiatry had lowest prestige. The differences between the ratings of the doctors, medical students and representatives of other health professions were small. This result indicates that the resulting scales of prestige of diseases and specialties, besides being of interest in themselves, can be used for purposes of analysis, e.g. in analysis of the allocation of economic resources in the health services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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